Insurance Fraud NEWS
Illinois shooting range allegedly burns, owners miss payments
May 15, 2019, Springfield, IL
A Springfield man was indicted in federal court earlier this month for allegedly setting his business on fire in 2017 to collect the insurance money.
John W. Jackson, 45, is charged with arson and insurance fraud in connection with the Sept. 6, 2017, fire that damaged his now-closed business, the Springfield Shooting Center, 4885 Industrial Drive.
A grand jury handed down the indictment May 8, but it remained sealed until his arrest on Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday. He remains in custody.
At the time of the fire, which led to the injury of a Springfield fire investigator, Jackson and his wife were owners and sole shareholders of the shooting center. The indictment alleges the couple, who was purchasing the building and inventory in installment payments, was behind in making payments.
The indictment noted Jackson took out an insurance policy on the building in July 2017. After the fire in September 2017, he submitted a claim for $1.62 million. Jackson is accused of lying to the insurance company about his involvement in the fire and claiming certain property had been stolen when it really had been sold, prosecutors said.
Jackson’s legal troubles connected to the fire began more than a year ago, when Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Company filed a civil suit in federal court against the Springfield Shooting Center, claiming the fire had been intentionally set by Jackson or his representatives.
That suit said private fire investigators hired by the insurance company found the fire started after four separate areas had gasoline and an open flame intentionally applied to them, which was the same finding by the Springfield Fire Department.
At about 12:56 a.m. the day of the fire, a video from a nearby building’s surveillance camera showed a person walking into the shooting center’s unlocked front door “without delay” and leaving eight minutes later, the company claimed in the lawsuit.
“Significant smoke” marking the beginning of the fire was captured on video at 1:04 a.m. Firefighters arrived at the shooting center at about 1:20 a.m. to put out the fire.
The lawsuit says the same surveillance camera also showed Jackson moving personal property and cash from the center the night of the fire and says he was the last person to leave the center on the night of the fire. The lawsuit stated that gasoline, kerosene, a propane cylinder, charcoal lighter fluid and other solvents were stored on the premises in the days before the fire.
If convicted, the maximum penalty for arson causing injury is 40 years in prison. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison, and the penalty for using fire to commit wire fraud is 10 years in prison to be served consecutive to any other penalty imposed. Each of the three counts includes a potential fine of up to $250,000.
Source: The State Journal-Register